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funswimshop.co.uk - Product Advice Bathing Your Baby
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Bathing your newborn
Bathing older babies
Bathing toddlers
Sensitive skins


Bathing your newborn
If you gave
birth in hospital, you may have been given a quick lesson in bathing your newborn before you were discharged. But even if you were actively involved in the demonstration, getting to grips with the job at home can be a worrying prospect.

Some parents put off the inevitable for several weeks, preferring to make do with a quick ‘top and tail’ each day. But with the right preparation and confident handling of your baby, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take the plunge as soon as you are both home.

You will need to decide how and where you are going to bath your baby. Using a baby bath allows you to bath him in the warmest room (which may not be the bathroom) and saves you bending over the big bath. However, you may find filling, lifting and emptying a baby bath hard work.

You may decide to use the baby bath within the big bath: it can be awkward bending over the rim of the bath, but the advantage is that you can tip it up to empty it afterwards. Or you may choose to buy a baby bath that fits across the rim of your bath, or a changing station with a built-in bath at waist height.

Of course, may decide not to use a baby bath at all. In the early days you can bath your baby in the kitchen sink, bathroom basin (if it’s big enough) or in a clean washing up bowl. If you’re using the sink or basin remember to wrap some facecloths around the taps to avoid burns, knocks or bumps.

If you feel confident, you can use the big bath straightaway. You can buy special baby bath seats which allow you to keep both hands free, but you should never leave your baby unattended in one of these, even for a minute, as a baby can drown in just a couple of inches of water.

Alternatively, if there is someone else in the house to help you lift your baby in and out, you could get into the bath with your baby. The downside of this arrangement is that you should use only baby bath products, and the water temperature will need to be much lower than you would probably choose.


Bathing older babies

When your baby is a few months old, you can introduce some games at bath time:

‘Swim’ him up and down the bath, first on his back, supporting his head and bottom, then on his tummy, supporting his chin and tummy.

Use a beaker to pour water gently over his body.

Introduce him to some first bath toys, and talk to him all the time about what's happening: long before he speaks, your baby is learning to assimilate language, and enjoys the sounds of different words.

Holding him firmly under the arms, ‘whoosh’ him out of the water, then lower him back in again, but take care to keep him in the water longer than he’s out of it, or he’ll get chilly.

If he's reluctant to have his hair washed, sing to him to distract him: 'This is the way we wash our hair, all on a Monday evening'.


Bathing toddlers
Between one and two years old, your happy little splasher may begin to assert his freedom of choice about bathing and hair washing! Try these tips to bring the enjoyment back, and to give him a sense of independence:

Give him his own special bubble bath, novelty sponge and facecloth, and encourage him to clean himself while you 'help'.

Buy a bath activity centre. These attach to the bath side with suction cups, and are a fun way to teach your toddler how water can propel wheels and make things happen.

Buy a tub of blowing bubbles with a special wand, and keep them as a treat for bath time or hair washing days.

If he has any soft toys that are washable, let him give them a bath before you pop them in the washing machine.

Let him lather his own hair: you start him off, then he can have a good go at finishing the job.

Show him how to make fun shapes with his hair and the foam: rabbit's ears or a pointy peak, then let him see himself in the mirror.

If he really hates hair washing, you can buy shampoo shields which look like the brim of a hat, and allow the soapy water to run off, without touching your child's face.


Sensitive skins
Most children's bath products also come in special formulations for sensitive skins, and it's best to stick to these, especially for babies, who are prone to skin rashes and dry patches.

Bubble baths tend to contain perfumes and colourants, so if you want to use these, watch out for any skin reaction.

If you suspect your baby or child has eczema or any other allergic skin condition, seek your doctor's advice on bath products, as there are special emollient bath additives which may be free on prescription.